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Full text of "Eminent nonconformists on Home Rule"

Irish Question, No. 30.] 



EMINENT NONCONFORMISTS 



ON 



HOME EULE. 



THE REV. 0. H. SPURGEON. 

"I feel especially the wrong proposed to be done to our 

Ulster brethren. What have they done to be thus 

Cast off P The whole scheme is as full of dangers and 
absurdities as if it came from a madman, and yet I am sure Mr. 
Gladstone believes he is only doing justice, and acting for the 
good of all. I consider him to be making one of those mistakes 
which can only be made by great and well-meaning men." — 
Extract from a Letter to a 'prominent Liberal in Cardiff, May, 1886 

THE NONCONFORMIST MINISTERS OF NOTTINGHAM. 

" The Bill casts out Irishmen from the just and equal rights of 
citizenship in the United Kingdom which they now possess. It re- 
duces Ireland to the status of a subject dependency, 

and thus deprives Irishmen of the rank which they have hitherto 
held as our fellow-citizens. It is said, indeed, that Ireland, 
through her representatives, has desired to take this inferior 
position and will be content with it. But we do not think that 
it is just to Ireland that a decision of such measureless signifi- 
cance should be accepted from the verdict of an election which 
was held after a long and fierce agitation — heated by agrarian 
quarrels ; and we cannot deem it just that a majority should, 
without the overriding law of a supreme necessity, rob a minority 
of their hereditary rights of citizenship in our commonwealth. 

Further, it seems wholly inconsistent with the Liberal prin- 
ciples which we have maintained, and it revolts our sense of poli- 
tical freedom, which your inspiring conduct and counsels have 
largely informed, that any nation of men, who are now free in en 
like ourselves, should be subject in their greatest national inte- 
rests to the domination of an Imperial Parliament in which they 
are not duly represented. Such would be, it seems to us, the con- 
dition of Irisli ii K3ii if the Bill were carried ; and even though for 
the moment they would have it so, we would not, as Liberals, be 
made parties to their degradation, which they will assuredly here- 
after resent." — Extract from the Memorial of the Nonconformist 
Ministers of Not liny have addressed to Mr, Gladstone, May, 1886, 



fa. 97 -/¥*:£? 



( 2 ) 



ME,. JESSE ASHWO&TH ON HOME EULE- 

" Who will affirm that the history of Ireland for the past six 
years has proved her to be competent for national government ? 
Let the history of secret societies answer ; let the events of 
Phoenix Park ntter their voice ; let lawlessness, crime, and 
boycotting furnish their reply ; let the unreasonable and almost 
unbearable conduct of Irish members in Parliament for the last 
half dozen years give its testimony. Are these the men 

who have proved themselves competent and worthy 
to be trusted with the legislative and administra- 
tive government of five millions of their fellow- 
subjects. What English Protestant would choose to be 
under such government? Need we wonder, then, that Irish 
Protestants are so sternly opposed to the proposed change ? In 
the light of the facts to which allusion has been made, who will 
pronounce Ireland in a fit condition to govern herself ? Are we 
told that if Ireland made her own laws, she might be trusted to 
keep them? But what, we ask, are the laws which Irish Roman 
Catholics choose to break — are they the laws enforced on them 
by the hated Saxon? I answer, they are the laws of Jehovah 
Himself; laws against murder, injustice, and crime — laws on 
which alone can be built the prosperity of any country. I am 
far from writing in a spirit of bigotry — I have deeply cherished 
all my life long a most charitable and kindly spirit towards 
Eoman Catholics; but I affirm, unhesitatingly and strongly, that 
from the history of Ireland the past few years, combined with 
all I read and heard and saw when in that country, I arrive 

at the unwavering conclusion that an Irish Legisla- 
tive Parliament is utterly inadmissible. When I have 

recently given utterance to these views to some of my esteemed 
friends, they have reminded me that, as it is some time since 1 
resided in Ireland, things have, of course, very much changed. 
To this I reply by asking, Are Irish Protestants changed, and 
are they become less enthusiastic in the defence of their civil 
and religious liberties? Are Eoman Catholics changed ? J lit- 
any change come over their views on ethics ? Have they given 
up the dogma of mental reservation? Have they ceased to teach 
and to believe that the end sanctifies the means? While no 
change has come over Eoman Catholic views of ethics and 

theology, can we in England wonder that the million 
and a quarter of Protestants in Ireland should verily 
shudder at the prospect of an Irish Parliament P"— 

Extract from a Letter to the Editor of the " Primitive Metlu 
World," May 27, 1886. 

Published foe the Liberal Unionist Committee, price 5s. per 1.000. bj 
Oassell and Company, Limited. Ludgate Hill, London. 



Pmnted by W. Speaight $ Sons, Fetter Lam . L-